Fans of fairy tales as well as adults looking to reinforce lessons in how to create and sustain happiness from within will...

PRINCESS ROSIE'S RAINBOWS

Sulky Princess Rosie is only happy when there are rainbows in the sky.

Determined to please the little princess, her parents offer a bag of gold to anyone who can bring her a “forever rainbow.” People come from far and wide, offering rainbows of all types. But Princess Rosie remains disappointed, for none of them are real. The Royal Astronomer has better luck, placing a glass of water on a windowsill, at least until the clouds roll in and the rainbow vanishes. (A backmatter activity extends this lesson.) Finally, Becca, “the Wise Teacher of Farthest Village,” arrives and tells the princess that the rainbows live inside her and that she can enjoy them whenever she wishes. The princess’s unrealistic expectations and dour disposition don’t make her a very sympathetic character, and in the end, she seems too easily persuaded, rendering the resolution unconvincing. The lesson, though, is a good one: true happiness comes from inside, from focusing on the things and people we hold in our hearts. Soft, intricately detailed illustrations accompany the text, helping to establish a believable fairy-tale universe for Rosie and her family to inhabit.

Fans of fairy tales as well as adults looking to reinforce lessons in how to create and sustain happiness from within will appreciate this well-meaning effort. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937786-44-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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